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Tags:
Level: Intermediate
Length: 24 mi (38.6 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Other
Elevation: +1,065/1 ft
Total: 17 riders
 

Mountain Biking Johnson Pass

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#15 of 52 mountain bike trails in Alaska
#2665 in the world

This demanding single-track, part of the Iditarod National Historic Trail was built during Alaska's historic gold rush era. Beautiful views and a breathtaking waterfall are just some of the ride's highlights. For free maps or information on guided tours please contact Alaska Backcountry Bike Tours 866-354-2453.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • No Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • No Restrooms 
Getting there
Drive about 63 miles South of Anchorage on the Seward Highway, The north trailhead is at mile 63.8. you will see a sign Johnson Pass Trailhead.
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Sofia Lagos (on Jun 16, 2019)
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(on Jun 13, 2019)
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Rider questions

Q: How long is the ride
A: 24 miles trailhead to trailhead. Go early or late summer - gets overgrown mid summer with pushki.

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  • AKRider
    ****

    This is one cool trail that I have done a couple times before. For this trip we were a little pressed for time, so we just did the North side up to Bench Lake and then back, to avoid having to shuttle cars around from the south end trail lakes area. From this end the ride starts out pretty tame, but starts to mix in big roots, rocks, and a bunch of drainage channels cut across the trail at low points over the first 3 miles. Climbs then begin to get steeper, punctuated by very steep sections. One nasty stretch is covered in loose shale for one of the climbs above a steep drop and the river channel below. I could not get a good bite ont he trail, rooster tailing up, and had to dismount to climb out of the loose rock. If you travel from south to north side and dont know this is there you could get carried away (litteraly) by the cool drops and find yourself with too much speed coming into the shale at the corners above the drop. :O

    Mile 3 through 6 is a nice mixed bag of roller coaster through trees, and higher meadows, with trail widths from 4 feet down to 9 inches and overhung with devils club, cow parsnip, raspberry, and such. I think the rains this year have it overgrown a bit earlier.

    Trail conditions on Friday 7/2/10 were really quite good, with little mud except way up on top, where we had to eke through a few trail sections with mud 2 to 4" deep. Note that in the lower trail section from mile 1.0 to 2.5 there were several avalanches with deep snow crossing the trail. Not a big deal, but if you ride it soon watch the creek crossings, as the snow bridges were soft in midday and eroding from creeks underneath. The final avalanche as you ride in ends in a 5' drop, but some nice souls had cut in a set of steps to get you down.

    The rains came down pretty good in the afternoon and evening, and by Saturday midday the trail conditions had totally changed the previously firm lower trails to soup and goop.

    This is a very cool ride, with great views, wildlife (yes bears), and plenty of intermediate challenge to keep your attention.

    Whoop it up or use bear bells - not only will the wildlife give you wider berth, but the hikers on the trail appreciate the warning as you bomb down and around the often blind corners.

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  • JDH
    *****

    This is an Intermediate trial as far as technical difficulty but as for endurance, this is the longest 24 mile ride in Alaska. The north trailhead is located right after the Turnagain pass rest area, mile marker 64 and comes out close to mile marker 33 by the small town of Moose Pass. From the north the trail starts off pretty technical with lots of roots, rock and washout areas then transitions into an alpine meadow within the first couple miles and the trail narrows down to a foot a crossed. About 8 miles in there are a couple cliff hanger sections. Then you hit the lake at the top of Johnson Pass, this section is very over grown and the plants will lodge little spines into your shins so wear something to cover your legs. Mid way along the lake there is a short section that can have up to a foot of water, be careful some parts can be really deep. A couple miles after the lake you’ll start the long bomber downhill which seems to last about 5 miles. At this point the trail starts to roller coaster, steep up hills with short just as steep down hills. About 20 miles into it you’ll come to the back side of Upper Trail Lake; this section is the only part with cell phone coverage. This part of the ride has a lot of rocky spots and you shadow the lake till shortly before you pop out to the south trailhead. This is some of the best back country riding out there. This is defiantly a 2 or more person ride (if you screw up and burn in hard) there might not be another person along the southern part of the trail for days. Bug dope is a must and PLEASE remember this is BEAR COUNTRY, so bells might be a good idea. A great place to gather after the north to south ride is the Trail Lake Lodge Restaurant for a few beers and some great food.* Review edited 7/6/2009* Review edited 7/6/2009

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  • adamzz
    ****

    This trail was awesome- gorgeous, technical in stretches but too bad, and a perfect blend of climbing and bomber downhill. Just watch out for the mosquitoes depending on the time of year.

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